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Selective activation of carbon–carbon bonds next to a carbonyl group


ORGANOMETALLIC complexes are used to effect a wide range of catalytic transformations in organic synthesis, such as the activation of C–H bonds1,2. Carbon–carbon bonds, however, are generally unreactive towards transition metals under homogeneous conditions. C–C bond activation by a process of oxidative addition to soluble transition-metal complexes has been limited mostly to stoichiometric (not catalytic) reactions1,3–7,18, to highly strained substrates such as cyclopropane and cubane1,8–11or to chelating ketones19. Here we present a synthetically useful process of selective C–C bond activation in which the C–C bond adjacent to a carbonyl group is opened by insertion of a soluble rhodium(I) complex. The resulting organometallic intermediate can be transformed to a variety of products in a way that regenerates the rhodium complex. We anticipate that this catalytic scheme will have considerable utility in organic synthesis.

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Murakami, M., Amii, H. & Ito, Y. Selective activation of carbon–carbon bonds next to a carbonyl group. Nature 370, 540–541 (1994).

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